What is sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is classified as a serious condition where your breathing literally stops due to your airway being completely blocked. Its quite common among adults, but is rare among children.
When you experience each apnoea episode, your breathing will stop and your brain will tell your body to wake up to open the air passage. This may happen numerous times during the night and you won’t necessarily wake up enough to realise what’s happened.
Due to this disruption in your sleep rhythm, you will suffer each day from a severe lack of sleep. Often this condition can go unnoticed for many years and you may have accepted the exhaustion not knowing there could be a possible concern.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnoea?
Some symptoms can include:
- Frequent waking episodes at night
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Aggressive sleep behaviour – i.e. tossing and turning
- Disrupted breathing, gagging, gasping or choking for air during sleep
Sleep apnoea patients can suffer from many health conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency and headaches.
This is a serious and life-threatening condition and if necessary we can refer you to a sleep specialist for further investigation.
How are snoring and sleep apnoea related?
Not all patients who snore will develop sleep apnoea. Most people with sleep apnoea, however, do snore. Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnoea, but sleep apnoea snoring is different from regular snoring.
When a patient regularly snores it partially blocks your airway but doesn’t cause any significant breathing problems. Sleep apnoea snoring is the result of a partial or full obstruction of the airway and severely restricts or stops breathing which starving your body of oxygen.
Sleep apnoea snoring is related to other serious health conditions, including type-two diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
If you are suffering any of the above symptoms or know someone who is, schedule a consultation with our experienced dentists today to see how we can help you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sleep apnoea is caused by your airway becoming obstructed while you are asleep. This can happen when the muscles in your throat relax too much, causing an obstructed airway. This is the reason why most people snore while they are asleep. Unfortunately, these blockages are not something that you can control while you are sleeping. Weight, large tongue and tonsils can all cause sleep apnoea.
The most noticeable symptom of sleep apnoea is snoring. However, it is important to note that if you snore, that does not automatically mean that you have sleep apnoea.
It is very common for those who suffer from sleep apnoea to be lethargic when awake and have irregular sleeping patterns since their sleep is often disrupted. Another common symptom is waking up with severe headaches.
The only way to be certain that you suffer from sleep apnoea would be to go and get diagnosed by a specialist who will conduct a polysomnogram or ‘sleep study’. The study will consist of you having various pieces of non-invasive equipment attached to you before you go to sleep. This equipment will measure and test for multiple things such as your breathing patterns, brain activity and heart rate.
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